Really quite impressive, this essay is. Allow me to post an excerpt.
Tolkien’s words make a fine epitaph for Europe in its decadence:
The swords of his thanes were dull with rust,
His glory fallen, his rule unjust,
His halls hollow, and his bowers cold,
But king he was of elvish gold.
That’s the curse of power. Every nation, like every generation, passes from a youth full of ideals and high hopes to an old age defined by the exact mathematical consequences of its actions. The old belt of high civilizations had its own burdens and its own decadence to pay for, and paid for them. Now, its strength renewed, it’s rising, while the bill for Europe’s age of dominion is being totted up patiently by old Father Time, for payment in full. It shouldn’t be surprising, after all, that the nations that dominated the world during the preindustrial era should be in line to dominate it again as the industrial age winds down.